Seventeen seafarers have been taken hostage in two separate piracy attacks off the coast of Cameroon, TradeWinds has learnt.
In the first incident, eight crew were kidnapped from MC-Schiffahrt's 10,600-dwt multi-purpose vessel MarMalaita (built 2002) late on 14 August, the shipowner has confirmed.
“It is with deep regret and great concern to inform that our vessel MarMalaita was attacked by pirates on 14 August between 23.00h and 24.00h local time on the anchorage of Douala, Cameroon,” it said in a statement.
“A group of pirates boarded the vessel and abducted eight of our 12 crew members from the vessel.”
MC-Schiffahrt said it had assembled an emergency response team and was "doing its utmost" to deal with the case, in cooperation with all relevant authorities and crew managers.
“Our thoughts reach out to the concerned families, and we will take all efforts to support and assist them until their seafarers safely return back home,” the German company said.
“All respective authorities have been informed accordingly and we will fully cooperate with them until the case is resolved.”
In a second incident, nine seafarers are said to have been kidnapped from the Greek-controlled, 33,500-dwt bulker Victory C (built 2012), but TradeWinds was unable to confirm the identity of the ship.
Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center, confirmed the figures, but said he could not be sure of the nationalities onboard both ships.
"The IMB has issued a warning to all ships at Douala. We ask all ships to take additional precautions," Choong told AFP.
Cameroon is located between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea on the Gulf of Guinea, whose coastline stretches in a huge arc from Liberia to Gabon and is notorious for piracy as well as oil theft, illegal fishing and human and drugs trafficking.